Aroldis Chapman was starting to look like the $86 million closer the Yankees had hoped for. That is until 20-year-old Rafael Devers stepped in last Sunday night and became the first left-hander to take Chapman yard since 2011.
Before that game-tying home run, Chapman had started to turn his 2017 season around. He had given up only one run in his previous 10 outings and his fastball was full of life again. He struck out Hanley Ramirez on three pitches all clocked at 102 MPH or better and had Rafael Devers down two strikes early. The Red Sox would go on to win 3-2 in extra innings and Chapman seemingly lost his invincibility along with the game.
In his 3 innings pitched since that at bat he has given up 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 BB, hit a batter, and another home run to a rookie in Met’s Amed Rosario.
The 102.8 MPH fastball to Devers was the fastest pitch recorded ever given up for a home run in the velocity era. The audacity of Devers to take Chapman’s best stuff oppo-taco in his first career at-bat against the man might have just been enough to strip what was left of his confidence.